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Success with STEAM

Arts are about experimentation. It is a process that looks at the familiar, then flips the perspective to reveal new thinking. Colors, shapes, and lines come together to create a desired or an unexpected result. Music and movement develop patterns and themes that challenge their surroundings. The freedom to think beyond a set structure creates authentic experiences through arts-infused education. And that critical, creative thinking is the basis of the STEM to STEAM movement.

It has been a mission of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to change the conversation to add Art and Design to the national agenda of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education and research in America. The goal is to foster the true innovation that comes with combining the mind of a scientist or technologist with that of an artist or designer. Art and design education teaches the flexible thinking, risk-taking and creative problem solving skills needed to solve today’s most complex and pressing challenges±from healthcare to urban revitalization to global warming.

In an article for Edutopia.org, Arts Integration Specialist Susan Riley wrote about the way that STEAM brings together the critical components of how and what, and laces them together with why. “Think of STEAM as teaching through integrated network hubs where information is curated, shared, explored and molded into new ways of seeing and being through collaborative risk taking and creativity. This means that students are using the skills and processes learned in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics to think deeply, ask non-Googleable questions and solve problems.”

Educators are seeing a rise in student curriculum retention when the arts are part of the learning. That’s where Center for Arts-Inspired Learning’s experienced teaching artists are an essential aspect to the classroom. “It provides an authentic experience for learning,” said CAL Resident Teaching Artist Emma Parker. “The arts get kids up and out of chairs which energizes a different part of the brain. It takes the learning experience and makes it tangible.”

CAL artist collaborate with educators, using curriculum goals to find a new and different pathway in order to reach a broad section of learners. Developing these project-based strategies to tackle education engages students in ways to retain knowledge because they helped create their own learning. “When I go back into a school, students I had years earlier stop me in the hall to show me the dance moves we learned and tell me how it helps them with their subjects,” said Parker. “They are so excited to show me they remembered.”

Industries recognize there is no innovation without creativity. How can we keep challenging students and prepare for the needs of a 21st-Century landscape? Let’s start now with a creative present to spark their innovative futures.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS CAL BRINGS THE ARTS INTO STEM LEARNING?

Design Thinking Workshops, in partnership with the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Institute, that prepare students for critical thinking, solutions-based learning.

Painting ratios and fractions by mixing paint and representing metrics through the visual changes in color.

Using dance and the force of the body to explore gravity in a combination of technology, science theory, and the movement of the human body.

Sound Science, taking a musical journey through the scientific concepts of how sound travels.

There are so many ways to integrate the arts into a rich learning experience. Talk to CAL’s Education Department to discuss the best ways to partner. View a sample of our programs or call 216.561.5005 to speak to one of our arts-integration experts.

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